The Truth About BlackBerry QNX and AGL

Negative headlines may get the clicks, but reality wins in the end.

Earlier this week, the story broke that Toyota would be debuting their 2018 Camry with a new infotainment system running on Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). This immediately spun into a string of stories on stock news sites and conversations in forums about how destructive this move would be to BlackBerry QNX. Well, that’s not quite the case.

BlackBerry C.O.O. Marty Beard took to Inside BlackBerry  to explain the reality of the situation. Beard begins with the question which so many had been asking and discussing. “You might ask if this will have a negative effect on BlackBerry QNX,” he wrote, “The answer: not at all.” You see, BlackBerry QNX is more than just the market leader when it comes to automotive infotainment, it actually dwarfs all other competitors holding it’s place in over half the market. Beyond that, as Beard explains, BlackBerry QNX was utilized in “select” Toyota vehicles for the last 4 years, and is what Toyota’s Entune optional equipment is built off of.

In addition to this, BlackBerry QNX is more than AGL. AGL is currently an infotainment system which is “planning about to address all software in the vehicle”. BlackBerry QNX already addresses all software in the vehicle. In fact, BlackBerry QNX has the highest level of safety certification for safety critical systems. Something that the competition does not.

I was lucky enough to explore the BlackBerry QNX Jaguar and visit with QNX’s Grant Courville. This visit was shortly after Google’s announcement of a new Android Auto platform, and of course I asked if there was anything BlackBerry should be concerned about. I was assured there was not, for essentially the same reasons which Marty Beard spoke to in his Inside BlackBerry post. However, while showing me the car, Grant explained how BlackBerry can actually work with manufacturers that wish to utilize any of these competitive services. Thanks to the QNX Hypervisor.

The BlackBerry QNX Hypervisor allows for multiple systems to operate concurrently, off the same controllers, completely independently and of each other. With the containerization of these processes, car makers can, if they so wish, utilize any other infotainment system. And while using these other infotainment systems, they can still continue to use the gold standard QNX operating system for their safety critical functions, which is something we should all want. These other infotainment systems can even run on the QNX OS itself, like Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto do today.

Hearing that BlackBerry is losing a customer is never good news. However, the reality of it is, we don’t know if BlackBerry is losing a customer. If BlackBerry QNX were to lose it’s place as the infotainment system in a select group of Toyota vehicles, they can still have Toyota as a customer for their safety critical systems. And what if Toyota were to actually completely walk away from BlackBerry QNX? Well I would say that would be a poor decision, but more importantly, as Beard wrote, “BlackBerry QNX is not reliant on Toyota business”



Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.